May 19, 2010

Even Stronger

The latest satellite pictures shows a profound enhancement of the high clouds around this system (see above). The latest forecast models are even more threatening that last night...this is going to be a major coastal wind event, with damage and power outages. NW Washington will be hit harder than expected last night. And another issue...when the low is offshore, winds will accelerate to the west in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
The National Weather Service has now put storm warnings for the entire coast and the western Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Here is the latest forecast for 5 PM tonight...pretty amazing. 989 mb low and a huge pressure gradient to its south and southeast. The simulation indicates even stronger winds than last night, with areas immediately offshore experiencing 60 kt sustained winds and hurricane-force gusts.

Unfortunately, most of the offshore weather buoys are broken (this is really a problem!)--that is why we need coastal weather radars! The best buoy (46089) we have now is about 90 miles west of Tillamook, Oregon and the winds there are speeding up fast (30 kts last hour).


  1. Just like usual, the news is saying wind advisory for snohomish county, yet the 'special weather statement' we had yesterday for our area is gone and there is not any kind of advisory or warning anymore.

    What this means is we WILL have a big wind event. Every single time (and I'm not exaggerating) they don't give us a wind advisory or warning we end up with a big wind storm. However, any time they do give us a wind advisory/warning we end up with nothing.

  2. We have an advisory in Whatcom county, and are preparing accordingly. Is it usual to have this kind of event this time of year? Doesn't seem like it to me...

  3. Scott K: The reason advisories are taken down is when the forecast doesn't indicate that you'll have any significant winds.

    Take a look at the WWA 10m wind speed from GFS-WRF at 2pm, 5pm, 8pm and 11pm today. The coast is getting hammered and later the NW interior gets hit but in King and Snohomish just 10 to 20 knot winds.

  4. Interesting it is warm and sunny (relatively) here in Fremont!

  5. What's the essences of a good joke? Timing.

    So I see KATX, WWA weather radar, went down at 10:56AM PDT or rather the data link from KATX is down. No ETA for a fix.

    NOUS66 KSEW 191756
    Message Date: May 19 2010 17:56:15
    The main communications line to the KATX radar has gone down. Techs are currently working on the problem. Time of return to service is unknown at this time.

    Though most of the storm will be off the coast it would have been nice to watch the front come in.

  6. There is a good radar in Canada here:

  7. Canadian Radar is here:

    You can see the front.

  8. The temperature dropped 10 degrees in one hour in Olympia, and the rain has moved in.

  9. re: Radar down.

    sure seems to be a lot of sites going down and staying that way at NOAA lately... hmh.

    Both profilers at Sand Point and Spanaway

    Civilian overseen(?) weather station at Sand Point (

    convergence zone tool at

  10. Wow! It got to 75.5F in Kirkland this afternoon on my DavisVP2. This storm is quite the doozey! Great coverage Cliff.

  11. Rain started to spit (as we say in the UK) on Capitol Hill at 1:50pm. It's now 2pm and it's raining steadily with the hint of some wind gusts at the leading edge of the front.

    This is very close to the timing from this mornings GFS-WRF perhaps just a little early.

    NWS issued an additional Short Term Forecast at 1:24pm saying what readers of this blog already know: it's going to rain around Seattle and vicinity this afternoon and the wind will pick up a bit.

  12. About 2:40 p.m. and the wind is rising and the rain coming in here in Freeland, South Whidbey. The guy is here washing my windows! Maybe I won't let him do the outside ones!

  13. Wind at rain seemed to instantly jump into action here at WWU in Bellingham at 3:35. Dark as all get out too. Good thing my generator is ready to go, since I live out in the boonies of Whatcom County.

  14. Those Atmos wind graphs are amazing. The 8 PM one shows virtually no wind in the middle of the Strait of Juan de Fuca 0- only 10 mph -- but much higher winds both ends of the strait, not that many miles away -- 30s at both ends of the Strait, with presumably gusts up in the 50s.

    Hard to know who to believe. Ray Guy at KING at noon said NW Interior gusts 35-45. No big deal. But Cliff says much stronger, and teh NWS graphical forecast says winds up in the 40s and gusts in the 50s and maybe above.

    The first rain hit the San Juans about an hour ago, and the winds are just starting to make their presence known. It's going to be an unpleasant evening. I hope the forecasts of high winds ending around midnight pan out so we can get to sleep tonight.

  15. 40 mph gusts so far on the Long Beach Peninsula about 6 miles south of Ocean Park.

  16. @Kevin

    Thanks for the info. I know they take those advisories down when predictions change (or the advisories expire), still we've had days of 50+ mph winds here with no mention of it anywhere on NOAA, local news or anything. And then one day they'll give us a wind advisory expecting 50+ gusts and we'll end up with nothing but a small breeze.

    I've been tracking these kinds of events over the past 8 months or so. So far, NOAA predictions have been off (regarding when the advisory conditions predicted and what weather is actually observed) about 95% of the time.

    It's just a little frustrating have a lot of good prediction equipment when basically every wind advisory or warning is wrong.

    I live in Lake Stevens, btw.

  17. KATX is back up at 1624 (4:24pm).

    The Canadian radar are some use but they're rather far away (200km?) so they see higher up in the clouds over Seattle as the earth curves away from the beam. That's not so good for seeing low level precip like we have now.

    KATX came back just in time to see a 50dBz+ band of rain come across CapHill. Very heavy rain. It seems rather patchy but one can see some orange-red bands in the radar.

  18. It's windy here in Lacey, 20mph gusting to over 30 from the SW.

    Rain ended for the most part, but I see some ominous looking clouds on the horizon.

    May? Huh?

  19. How about them isobars. Va Va Varoom!

  20. Eye moved up north, everything dying down here. One gust reported at 61 mph in Ocean Park at 4:58pm.


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